Braid: The latest from Steven Guilbeault: no new paths for electric cars

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Trudeau’s Liberals are building a special highway for themselves: a political superhighway to nowhere.

However, they will not fund it because the government now denies federal funding for any new roads or highways in Canada.

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It was announced this Tuesday by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, through a video link to Montreal.

Politics is so far removed from the crazy edge of climate activism that it was easy to confuse his own Twitter account with the one that parodies it every day.

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There should be an official slogan for this policy, perhaps “take this show off the road” or “where the rubber hits the tundra.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford snapped. “I am stunned. He doesn’t care that you’re stuck in congested traffic. Yes. We are building roads and highways, with or without a dime from the feds.”

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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said: “Does this minister understand that the majority of Canadians do not live in downtown Montreal?

“Most of us can’t just walk out the door in the snow and rain and walk 10 kilometers to work each day.

“Can we go back to the real world, Minister @s_guilbeault?

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Liberals are trying to ban new roads in the world’s second largest country after Russia, where today you can even leave Moscow by road.

Guilbeault says the national highway system is fine as it is and should not be expanded.

“The analysis we have done is that the network is perfectly adequate to respond to the needs we have.

“And thanks to a combination of investment in public and active transport, and in territorial planning and densification, we may well achieve our economic, social and human development objectives without further expansion of the road network.”

The money saved by not building roads, he said, can be used to fight climate change.

That was impressive enough, but Guilbeault wasn’t done.

He went on to warn that electric vehicles, the artificial heart of liberal climate action, are not the answer.

Overestimating its ability to affect climate change is “a mistake, a false utopia that will disappoint us in the long term. . . We must stop thinking that electric cars will solve all our problems.”

If Canadians really think that, it’s because Ottawa is investing billions in battery plants and electric vehicle manufacturing, while demanding an end to the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.

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Now, Guilbeault is heading in a new direction. There will be no new roads for the electric cars that the government is spending fortunes on creating.

Guilbeault isn’t just saying Ottawa won’t help build new roads. He discourages provinces and municipalities from building them as well.

Once again, the Liberals’ deeper plans go far beyond what they previously said.

Guilbeault’s language (“our goals of economic, social and human development”) shows the core of this effort to transform Canada, step by step.

Rising policies are now beginning to clash with each other in illogical ways.

The government encourages immigration and population growth. That means more communities and growing demand for roads and other services — more goods and people moving in trucks and cars from one population center to another.

But liberal policies are better suited for a stagnant nation that is actively discouraged from growing, or for a very small country: Liechtenstein, for example, or Monaco.

Canada is a rural nation by geography, if not population. Roads are an eternal political issue. Farmers and communities are always pushing for new and improved crops.

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In northern Alberta, to cite just one of many examples from rural Canada, governments have tried for decades to build a road connection directly from the Grande Prairie area on the west side of the province to Fort McMurray in the east side.

“The lack of connections in northern Alberta is reducing economic opportunities, lowering quality of life expectations and keeping families and friends apart,” Northern Alberta Minister of Employment, Economy and Development Brian Jean said last year. .

That is the rural reality that can affect the way people vote.

What does Guilbeault boast about? Spend $400 million to encourage self-propulsion using skates, snowshoes, cross-country skis, electric bicycles and wheelchairs.

That’s all fine, as far as it goes. But banning new roads won’t get the Liberals very far in the election campaign.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald

X: @DonBraid

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